Due to its location on the Pacific Ocean, Del Mar takes its name from the Spanish phrase “by the sea.” When the first California Southern Railroad was built in 1882 connecting San Diego and San Bernardino the contractor and engineer who worked on the project, Theodore M. Loop, built a home in the area he described as “the most attractive place on the entire coast.” He then constructed a tent city on what is now Torrey Pines State Beach, and his wife referred to it as “Del Mar.” The beauty and potential of the area continued to captivate visitors, which led to the town's official founding in 1885.
Today, despite being overshadowed by San Diego, Del Mar is home to numerous beach parks, a race track, spas, entertainment venues, and other points of interest that make it a popular destination in its own right. Whatever your reason for visiting Del Mar, California, it's important that you locate the right hotel that allows you to experience everything this picturesque city has to offer.
Best Time to Visit Del Mar, CA
Being a seaside city, it's no surprise that Del Mar's peak tourist season is summer. Not only will you find more crowds on the beaches as Del Mar accommodates San Diego's tourist overflow, but you'll also encounter more local families lining up at major attractions. In addition, hotel rates skyrocket, making it difficult to find deals unless you book a room several weeks or months in advance. Still, you can't beat a summer vacation in Del Mar with its water sports and other outdoor recreational activities.
September through November are great months to visit Del Mar because the tourist season has tapered off, leaving hotels to offer reduced rates. Temperatures continue to hover in the 70s, with lows only hitting the mid-50s in November, so it's still a good season to enjoy the beaches. You'll also have access to nearby fall events, including the Old Town San Diego Art Festival, Dixieland Jazz Fest, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, KAABOO Del Mar, and the San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Winter is San Diego County's rainy season, but despite that fact, there are still plenty of sunny days to be had. Low temperatures dip to around 48 degrees with highs staying in the mid-60s, making Del Mar a coveted place for a winter getaway. While there won't be as many beachgoers, winter is whale migration season, so be sure to reserve a spot on a tour boat to catch a glimpse of the city's marine residents.
Spring is another great time to visit Southern California. Temperatures gradually warm up to the high-60s, encouraging more water activity. With the local children still in school and peak tourist season still around the corner, visitors have free reign over the city. Just keep in mind that more tourists start to arrive in May when temperatures near the 70-degree mark. Popular springtime events include Carnival, San Diego Earth Fair, and Fiesta Cinco de Mayo.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Del Mar, CA:
Averate Rates by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs displaying average nightly cost patterns by star rating class in Del Mar, CA. Analyze these illustrations to determine the most cost effective dates to make a reservation in Del Mar for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Del Mar, CA
4 Star Average Prices: $186.98
Set on 5.2 acres of landscaped grounds, L'Auberge Del Mar is a high-end resort situated across from the Del Mar Plaza's upscale shopping mall. Guest rooms are elegantly decorated with designer furnishing and tropical décor. All feature flat-screen TVs, and Wi-Fi access, while upgraded rooms add fireplaces. Suites feature fireplaces and multiple balconies. The property features cabana dining, a casual bar, a fire pit, two outdoor pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, and a spa.
The Mediterranean-inspired Fairmont Grand Del Mar is situated within the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve 5.3 miles from Torrey Pines State Beach. This posh resort offers guest rooms with mini bars, flat-screen TVs, terraces or balconies, and marble bathrooms with soaking tubs. Private villas are also available. Guests can take advantage of the four heated pools, on-site fitness center, a spa, tennis courts, an equestrian center, and a golf course. There's even a nightclub, multiple dining options, and free transportation services.
Winners Circle Resort is a classic resort a mile from the beach. The hotel offers warm guest studios with private patios or balconies, cable TV and DVD players, free Wi-Fi, and kitchenettes with refrigerators and microwaves. Upgraded suites add full kitchens and whirlpool tubs. The property features an outdoor pool, a hot tub, a clubhouse, barbecue grills, multiple dining options, a tennis club, a game room, a fitness center, guest laundry facilities, and free parking.
Affordable Hotel Options in Del Mar, CA
3 Star Average Prices: $138.89
Finding an affordable hotel in Del Mar can be tough, but you just need to know where to look. Hampton Inn San Diego/Del Mar is a two-star property located nine minutes from the beach and within walking distance of a shopping center. The contemporary guest rooms offer custom-designed beds, free Wi-Fi internet access, work desks, lap desks, coffee makers, mini fridges, microwaves, and flat-screen TVs with high-definition channels. Guests can enjoy a free hot breakfast, weekday breakfast bags to go, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, a business center, a meeting room, and free parking.
Del Mar Inn Hotel is a hospitable waterfront accommodation providing easy access to both the Del Mar Fairgrounds and the Del Mar Racetrack. This charming boutique hotel offers beautifully renovated guest rooms with contemporary coastal décor, balconies with ocean or garden views, bathrobes, 42-inch flat-screen high-definition TVs, irons and ironing boards, available microwaves and mini fridges, work desks, designer bathroom amenities, and gourmet coffee and herbal tea. The hotel also offers waterfront dining, a concierge, an arcade, a heated outdoor pool with whirlpool, dry cleaning services, a fitness center, and large-vehicle parking.
2 Star Average Prices: $79.23
Del Mar, CA Hotels with Discounts
If you plan your trip ahead of time, you can save even more money on your trip to Del Mar by taking advantage of discounts. Most area hotels, including the upscale Hilton San Diego/Del Mar extend special rates to seniors, AARP members, AAA members, military personnel, and government employees. Simply select the appropriate rate when booking and provide proof of eligibility at check-in to save as much as 20 percent off the cost of your stay.
In addition to discounted rates, many Del Mar hotels offer special packages that can help you enjoy your getaway even more. Del Mar Inn Hotel offers both a bed & breakfast and romantic getaway package, throwing in extra perks like breakfast for two in the hotel café and a late checkout. Specials vary by hotel and tend to change with the seasons, so keep an eye on your favorite properties to see what options are available.
Best Value Options in Del Mar, CA
Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Del Mar is a refined option 8 miles from La Jolla Cove and just 4.6 miles from the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The hotel offers warm, inviting guest rooms with custom-designed beds, flat-screen TVs with premium cable channels, work desks, ergonomic chairs, free Wi-Fi, microwaves, mini fridges, and Keurig coffee makers. Some rooms add balconies, while suites feature separate living spaces. A hot breakfast is free, and there's an on-site bistro, deli, lounge, convenience store, spa, fitness center, and outdoor pool.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Solana Beach-Del Mar offers quiet relaxation 13 miles from LEGOLAND California Resort. Guest rooms are subdued with flat-screen TVs, work desks, free Wi-Fi, high-pressure shower heads, microwaves, mini fridges, and coffee makers. Suites add additional space, whirlpool tubs, and sleeper sofas. Enjoy a free buffet breakfast, an on-site fitness center, business center, meeting room, hot tub, outdoor pool, and free parking.
Best Parks in Del Mar, CA
If you're visiting Del Mar, you're going to explore the outdoors. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a must-see as Del Mar is one of the few locations in which the elusive Torrey pine tree grows. Enjoy meandering trails, guided walks, a visitor center, and a museum shop before heading back to your hotel.
Known as “Dog Beach” to many locals, North Beach is a half-mile stretch of dog-friendly beach bordering Solana Beach. Del Mar prides itself on being a dog-friendly city, so don't be afraid to travel with your canine companion.
Both Seagrove and Powerhouse Parks are seaside locations providing great spots for a picnic. Powerhouse Park, in particular, is very kid-friendly, offering a children's playground suitable for young tots.
While technically not a park, the Del Mar Fairgrounds always have something exciting happening. The San Diego County Fair is a big draw, as are the facility's many horse shows and festivals. In Del Mar, there's always something happening at the fairgrounds.
Exploring Del Mar is a tall order, but no matter what's on your list of must-sees, you'll find a picturesque, charming seaside city eager to please. Regardless of your hotel preferences, you can find the perfect Del Mar hotel that meets your needs and budget.